- Vestas reports 71 million euro operating loss
- Results hit by COVID-19 pandemic, low activity
- Danish firm's rival lowered guidance last week
- Shares rise 6% as CEO sees business catching up
COPENHAGEN, May 5 (Reuters) - Vestas (VWS.CO), the world’s largest wind turbine maker, posted on Wednesday a surprise first quarter operating loss that it blamed on the impact of COVID-19 and low activity but kept its full-year financial forecast, helping drive its shares higher.
Shares in the Danish firm were up more than 8% by 0937 GMT.
"Although we have started the year a bit slower than expected, we remain positive we will catch up throughout the rest of the year," Chief Executive Henrik Andersen said.
The impact of the pandemic and lower activity had hit the first quarter results, after a strong end to 2020, he added.
Rival wind turbine maker Siemens Gamesa (SGREN.MC)had lowered its full-year earnings guidance last week when it reported quarterly results citing strong competition, high raw material prices and disruptions linked to COVID-19 in the first quarter.
Vestas reported an operating loss before special items of 71 million euros ($85 million) for the first three months, far lower than the 46 million profit expected, based on an average forecast made by analysts in a company poll.
Despite an all-time high order backlog of 45 billion euros, Vestas reported an order intake of 2,016 megawatts in the first quarter, in line with analyst estimates but a 39% drop compared to the same period last year.
"It's a timing issue," Chief Financial Officer Marika Fredriksson told Reuters.
Vestas said the fall in wind turbine order intake was primarily related to China and Brazil.
The company maintained its full-year revenue guidance at 16 billion to 17 billion euros and an earning before interest and tax (EBIT) margin of between 6% and 8%.
"We think retained guidance and pricing means the results are actually less negative than might have been feared," said Citi analysts, who have a 'buy' rating. "The lack of negative comments on raw material headwinds is encouraging."
($1 = 0.8340 euros)
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